It's a division where you don't need to dig to find great fighters or great fights, but it is a division with a lot of depth, both across the globe and in Asia alone. Thankfully with so many great fighters we've had the pleasure of having some sensational fights over the last few years and, with Roman Gonzalez set for his HBO debut, we thought there was no better time to share some of those amazing Flyweight wars. And, as a bit of a rarity, we're even including some bouts with no Asian involvement!
Pongsaklek Wonjongkam Vs Suriyan Sor Rungvisai
(October 8th 2010)
This one may feel out of place, especially to kick things off, but the 2010 WBC title fight between Thai great Pongsaklek Wongjongkam and his young compatriot Suriyan Sor Rungvisai had everything and more. It had technique on skill, it had a great atmosphere, one of the best we've heard in Thailand, it had a modern great against an emerging prospect and it had puke. Seriously Suriyan threw up in the fight before continuing. It's not the most action packed fight on this list but it's a tremendous contest.
One thing to note about this bout is that it was Suriyan's first world title bout and the 21 year old, yes he really was just 21, genuinely acquitted himself incredibly well against a living legend. It's little wonder that Suriyan has since gone on to claim a world title at Super Flyweight and become one of the leading Bantamweight contenders out there right now.
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Luis Concepcion Vs Hernan Marquez
(April 2nd 2011)
One of the non-Asian bouts on this list is the brilliant WBA title clash between Panamanian Luis Concepcion, a true warrior, and the heavy handed Hernan Marquez. Maruqez was going into the lions den for the bout against the champion though showed no fear and we immediately had a classic. The opening round was probably the round of the year and the fight in general was sensational from start to end with neither man knowing quite when to give up.
These two later had a rematch though that was decidedly less action packed than this one with Concepcion being taken out inside a round. Amazingly he has since bounced back marvelously and recently fought in a WBC Super Flyweight world title bout, giving the Teiken promoted Carlos Cuadras a tough test just last year. As for Marquez, well there's more him to come.
Moruti Mthalane Vs Ricardo Nunez
(September 1st 2012)
Back to Panama again here with another non-Asian bout. This fights sees the then IBF champion Moruti Mthalane up against home town favourite Ricardo Nunez in a bout that was one of the best of 2012 and of the many forgotten classics. It's a shame that Mthalane has since become “the forgotten man” of the Flyweight division but this bout was so good that it should help fans remember just good he is.
Since this bout we've unfortunately seen Mthalane disappear into the ether with the South African now fighting in relatively obscure bouts where his talents have unfortunately been hidden away. As for Nunez he fought Juan Carlos Reveco in 2013 in a WBA title bout and despite spending more than a year out of the ring he's returning to action shortly.
(Unfortunately we could only find a highlight video for this bout)
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Brian Viloria Vs Hernan Marquez
(November 17th 2012)
A second including for Hernan Marquez comes courtesy of his unification bout with Hawaiian Brian Viloria. This bout saw Viloria enter with the WBO title and Marquez with the WBA belt though it left fans thinking “wow what a fight”. Amazingly it was screened on AWE TV alongside a bout featuring Roman Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada, who traded blows at Light Flyweight. For some this card showed how good the little weight classes can be, though sadly AWE never followed up with the 4 fighters involved.
Amazingly the titles which were unified back in 2012 are still unified to this day, with Juan Francisco Estrada currently holding both titles whilst Roman Gonzalez currently holds the WBC title. As with many of the fights on this list this was a FOTY contender and featured some ROTY contenders.
Toshiyuki Igarashi Vs Akira Yaegashi
(April 8th 2013)
The WBC title line at Flyweight can be taken back decades and one of the more memorable recent contests there saw Toshiyuki Igarashi, as the defending champion, take on Akira Yaegashi. These two had been rivals in the amatuers and the rivalry continued into the professional ranks with a bloody battle of attrition, guts and action. We won't pretend that this was “pretty” as such but it was everything that we like about boxing, a good old fashioned fight.
Since this fight we've seen Igarashi's career being hit by a number of injury issues. As for Yaegashi he has recently spoken about chasing a bout with former for Kazuto Ioka in what would make for a thrilling bout, just like their first. It seems clear that we won't be seeing these two in the ring together, though it would be fun if we did.
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Kompayak Porpramook Vs Koki Eto
(August 1st 2013)
The WBA may get a lot of deserved stick for their abuse of the “interim” title but that title has been responsible for some of the best Flyweight bouts in recent times, including this hellacious war in Bangkok. Coming in to the bout Kompayak Porpramook was making the first defense of the belt and was on a 4 fight winning streak, all by TKO, whilst Koki Eto was just a few fights removed from a draw with Yota Hori in a Japanese domestic scrap.
Prior to this bout Porpramook had previously been in FOTY contender with Adrian Hernandez, at Light Flyweight, whilst Eto has since been involved in thrillers with Ardin Diale and Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep, both of which can be seen further down this list.
Giovanni Segura Vs Hernan Marquez
(November 2nd 2013)
Another bout not involving an Asian came in this all Mexican affair between former Light Flyweight champion Giovani Segura and former Flyweight title holder Hernan Marquez, who gets a third inclusion on to this list! This was a WBO final eliminator and saw both men fighting as if it was the belt on the line, not just the opportunity to fight for the title. This was one of those memorable nights for everyone involved and one that sadly seems to have taken the best of both men, with neither looking the same since.
The winner of this later went on to fight against Juan Francisco Estrada though looked like a completely shot fighter. Given the career that both fighters have been through it's little wonder that both men are looking very shop worn.
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Takuya Kogawa Vs Suguru Muranaka
(December 10th 2013)
This time it's Japanese title action as Takuya Kogawa looks to make the 4th defense of his title against the unheralded Suguru Muranaka. Coming in to the bout there was a few things we knew for fact. We knew that neither fighter had a lot of power and that both fighters liked to let their hands go, a lot, and as a result we ended up with a very special fight that deserved a much bigger audience than it got originally.
We know that fans outside of Japan haven't seen this and probably aren't aware of either man though this bout will hopefully give fans a reason to follow the careers of both men, who will both go on to be involved in some more thrilling fights before their careers are over.
Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep Vs Takuya Kogawa
(March 4th 2014)
It's that darned WBA interim title on the line again as Japan's Takuya Kogawa goes to war with Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep. Again the bout is in Thailand and again the bout delivers massively on the action. Incidentally this was Yodmongkol's first defense of the title that he had taken from the winner of the other WBA interim title fight on this list, and whilst the bout isn't quite as good as the other one, it's still a brilliant fight.
We'll admit this bout did have it's issues, notably the decision which we thought was very poor, but the in ring action was genuinely sensational and there's every chance, given the age of the fighters, that we may see a do-over somewhere down the line.
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Koki Eto Vs Ardin Diale
(June 6th 2014)
Koki Eto, who could have been on this last 4 times, gets his second mention courtesy of his 2014 OPBF title bout with with Filipino Ardin Diale. This bout had it's down times but it resulted in drama, a ROTY candidate and was as memorable an OPBF bout as we saw in the entire of 2014. There was skills, drama, momentum shifts and nail biting scenes in what must go down as one of the best bouts that the Korakuen Hall has seen in recent years.
Notably there is talk of the two men doing it again, though we suspect that there will be little more than with the winner of this one wanting to compete at world level in the near future whilst the loser seems intent on getting himself an OPBF title down the line.
Akira Yaegashi Vs Roman Gonzalez
(September 5th 2014)
With Roman Gonzalez making his US debut this coming Saturday it seemed only fair that we rounded this off with the little Nicaraguan firecracker who was involved in this thrilling encounter with Akira Yaegashi. In this bout Yaegashi was defending the WBC title whilst Gonzalez was looking to become a 3-weight world champion. Although Gonzalez was essentially the man coming up in weight for this contest he was strongly favoured by the bookies and those in the know.
For fans tuning in this coming Saturday this really should be a bout that you watch before the weekend. It's the perfect example of what Gonzalez does when he gets in the ring and it's why he's such a big fan favourlte among the hardcore fans of the sport.
(Note-We have tried to keep these selections to fights which have taken places in the last 5 years, this means amazing fights like the Jorge Arce Vs Hussein Hussein , Muanchai Kittikasem Vs Jung Koo Chang and Sot Chitalada Vs Jung Koo Chang bouts haven't been looked at.)